Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Life can be complicated. You have to do all the right things; eat properly, exercise, love on those you love. But you also have to make a living, take care of the things in your life, interact with others. There are only 24 hours in the day (which came as quite a surprise to me the other day! I had been working under the assumption that there were 36! Explains a lot!)

Discipline helps get these things done. Eating properly assumes eating the right foods and the right amounts of those foods. Exercise means finding a workable regimen of exercises that need to be performed properly, to avoid injury that would keep you from exercising. Loving those you love can be the trickiest thing, because those you love may not always be lovable. Making a living often gets in the way of taking care of the things in your life and of interacting with others.

And there's that pesky 24-hour limit. -sheesh-

I've been trying, since Mary started school in September, to arrange my days in some sort of disciplined schedule. It gets tougher and tougher every year, as more and more things pull on me from more and more directions. Some of those things are frivolous; I missed a movie I really wanted to see. Some are not; my dad needed a ride to the doctor. In the end, some things get done well and some do not. I suppose that's part of the sinfulness of a fallen world.

This is all by way of explaining why, rather than losing 10 pounds between October 15 and November 30, which was my goal, I gained 3. Well, I gained 6, but lost 3 in that time. -sigh- I wonder if I'll ever lose weight again.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Happy New Year! In the Church year, this is the beginning. This is when we wait. We wait, some say obviously, for Christmas. It's a time of preparation and building joy as we come closer to that wonderful festival.

But we also wait for the Second Coming. In church, we'll hear about the end times, about that mysterious and misunderstood time when Christ will come and take His faithful to Himself. It's a time of penitence, of renewal, and of hope.

And we sing really great hymns. Some of my most favorite hymns are Advent hymns. Yes, Christmas hymns are beautiful, and I have a list of Easter hymns that I hope someone will sing at my funeral. But Advent hymns. Ah......

Like this one.

(If you're interested, this is not a bad explanation of the liturgical year, especially in the Lutheran church.)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Homeward Bound

Today we leave Grandma and Grandpa's and head home. It's been a relaxing weekend, and we've even managed to learn a few things.

The critter-raising, home-cooking, can-the-jam things that I do are apparently part of a movement. Who knew that I would start a trend? I was just trying to make good, healthy stuff for us, because buying the good, healthy stuff was breaking the bank.

Acid reflux, one of my demons, is aggravated by chocolate, peppermint, alcohol and caffeinated drinks. Guess which of the four I could live without? Guess which of the four is the only one that actually helps my GERD? Yeah, me and peppermint. Quite the team.

My youngest two kids still drive me crazy when they get together. Can't. Stop. Poking, even at 21 and 16. But it also warms my heart. Aren't siblings supposed to hate each other?

Thanksgiving. It's not always about the turkey.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Day After

The first two minutes of this are my experience of Black Friday. This is why I am staying home today.

(See what I did there? The Day After, as in, The Day After Thanksgiving? And The Day After? Bwahahaha! Although, I suppose, if I have to explain it, it's not such a good example....)

Well, not really home. We're still at Grandma and Grandpa's, enjoying family time and some rest. This afternoon, Grandma is volunteering at a local thrift store; we'll be heading over there soon to visit her, and to find me a shirt, since I didn't pack well and forgot one day's worth of clothing! Tonight we'll head into Bloomington to see the lighting of the Canopy of Lights.

Enjoy your Black Friday.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

T, or, Something to Do While You Digest Turkey

Happy Thanksgiving! Today I am giving thanks for a safe trip to Grandma and Grandpa's, and a quiet, restful day in which we are snacking through the time it takes to cook a turkey, after which we will stuff ourselves!

But enough about me. Let's talk Living Room. As promised, I'll share some quick photos I took of the poor thing. She's like the actress in A Star is Born, or a similar film. Good bones, but fading fast. She needs clothing; she's been living out of thrift stores for far too long. Something comfortable, warm and cozy, and tailored just for her.

Walking from my kitchen into the living room is this view. You're facing southeast. The large window to the left faces east; outside of it is our front yard, with trees and a little sidewalk. We plan to put sheep out there next summer; they'll graze on our septic field. Yum! The sofa is almost 20 years old. A sleeper sofa made by Englander, it's been sat on by too many Jack Russell terriers. Their little white hairs are so woven into the fabric that it looks more faded than it is. The back has worn spots where their claws, and those of our last 2 housecats, have left their marks. The sofa is headed for the curb. That wall on which the sofa sits is about 22 feet long.

Here's that south-facing window, straight on. This wall is about 13 feet long. Under that window was a shelf that held houseplants, until last spring, when Jip, our last JR, jumped up onto it and pulled it off the wall. I would like to fix the wall and restore it. I have also thought of a table under that window, but, whatever, that window is just too useful and looks too pretty with plants in it to not have something there to hold the greenery. The entertainment center is one piece of furniture that has really outlived it's usefulness. With flat-screen TV's, it seems like these things are really a piece of the past. But this one is genuinely pretty. The wood is lovely, and the finish is like satin. When the doors are closed over the TV screen, it looks a lot like an old armoire, but somehow not so bedroom-y. I'd like to use it for something. I really hate the idea of a TV in this room; it seems more of a "visiting" room to me. But the downstairs family room ceilings are too low for a tall person like me to do yoga and other stretching, so I have exercise videos and the Wii up here, so I can work out (when I lose my mind and decide that such things are important.)

This is the west wall of the living room. It's major problem is that end, with the half-wall. While it is nice to have light flowing through the living room and dining room, that little wall can be a bear to decorate around. In fact, I still haven't figure out how to do that! The chair is also on it's way to the curb. It's worn, stained, and leans to the right. It reclines, but isn't comfortable anymore.

And, lastly, the north wall. To the left is the hall to the bedrooms. Above the fireplace is Frank. He gets decorated for Christmas; he has a camo Santa cap and other assorted embarrassments to hang all over him. But it's all in good fun!

Now, all you home design types out there. What would you do with this room? I should remind you that I like the colors. The floors aren't going to change. I would prefer not to have window coverings; I like the unobstructed view. I would like a stained glass piece above the east window; something hanging like the rose windows over the south window. (Those were made by John's grandfather and served as sidelights for our front door in our last house. I couldn't leave them.) I think some rolling green hills with some pine trees on them; remember, this is Pine Ridge Farm. But, beyond that, I've got nothin'. Whadda you have?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

T Minus 2

Thanksgiving Day is coming. The turkey is thawing, my stomach is grumbling, and not a thing has been packed. That's something to be concerned about, as we're heading out tomorrow morning,going over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house. Grandfather's, too, down near Bloomington, Indiana. And still, she blogs. Not moving from the computer.

I started my morning at the computer. As I sipped my coffee and checked the Book of Faces, I looked around my living room and almost lost my appetite for whole wheat Cream of Wheat with butter and cinnamon sugar. (Yum. You must try this sometime.) Our sad, pathetic living room, she of the lovely fireplace and gorgeous windows, but whose sofa and chair should have been hauled out to the curb 5 years ago....

But I was online! Surely there would be some help there, some way to find information that would help me design a fresh, new living space...Yeah, not so much. I mean, it's there. But it's basic-ness left me looking for more. See, I already know that stuff. I need the stuff I don't know.

Like arranging furniture. Like choosing furniture. Like finding the computer cable for my camera, so I can share pictures of this space. The tough stuff.

I'm OK with choosing colors; in fact, the walls are done. They have been for 2 years; shade of green, like the fields and farms around us. The floors were done just before them; wooden floors that "bring in" the woodsy view outside the windows. It just needs refining; furnishing, and accessorizing, and lighting.

So, if you're inclined, stay tuned. I'll be asking some opinions very shortly...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Why? Why?

I'm going to try to tackle a subject about which I know very little.


Yesterday I posted that we joined a new congregation. If you've been here for any length of time, you know that we are Missouri Synod Lutherans. Years ago, when I was a baby, my parents attended ALC Lutheran churches. I was baptized at this one, and remember attending this one when I was as young as 2. It was where I was confirmed, married, and we had three of our children. John was baptized there. When we'd been married about 6 years, the ALC ceased to exist, becoming part of the ELCA. Our congregation at Prince of Peace enthusiastically joined the ELCA, and we continued in that branch of Lutheranism for about 5 years.

Not long after our kids started school, we noticed some failings in our local public school system, and moved them from that system to a Lutheran school. In time, we realized that, theologically, our family agreed more with the LCMS than we did with the ELCA, and we made the leap to yet another synod. This was not done lightly, nor without much conflict. We actually lost friends when we did this, as they saw us, in their eyes, becoming "narrow minded" and "insular." It was not an easy time, or a comfortable one, but then, matters of religion never are. If they were, I've always figured, that would be a tip-off that we might be going the wrong way. The Devil never makes trouble for people who are heading in his direction, after all. The sticking point for us was the inerrency of Scripture. (How do you spell that word that means "no errors"? Spell check is no help!) When we started hearing, "Well, God didn't really mean this," we headed on down the road. And it's been a blessing for our family to have done so.

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, it turns out, has conflict within it's own ranks. Gee, there's a surprise. The Church is full of sinners. Whoda thunk? There are liberal theologians in the LCMS, very conservative ones, and everything in between. We've always fallen somewhere in the middle, influenced, no doubt, buy those years in the ELCA. (For the non-Lutheran, this "alphabet soup" of synods is really confusing. I am sorry, and you are to be commended if you've followed along this far!) Dealing with the conflict in the LCMS has been a point of growth for us, something that has pained us and nurtured us at the same time. The congregation in which we have been worshipping for the past 13 years is on one side of the conflict. We always felt that we should shop, worship, work, and "hang out" in the community where our post office is located. Over the years, it has been a joy to do so, to have the people ringing my groceries ask me about my church, because I'm "the customer," and not, "the church lady." Lately, though, we've been increasingly uncomfortable in this congregation, where worship seems something to be "gotten done with," some families seem more "worthy" than others, and, in the words of a 16 year-old, the pastor "doesn't have any respect for the Sacraments." When the 16 year-old is your daughter, you take those words seriously.

So, yesterday, we stood up in front of another congregation and promised to support the pastor and the work of that group of Lutherans. We're not silly enough to believe that this place won't have sinners, conflicts, and troubles of it's own. But the pastor has respect for the Sacraments, and that's a good place to be. Besides, he thinks our daughter is pretty cool. We do, too, and it's important to us that she see respect given where it's due. So a new adventure begins for us. Just when we were beginning to think we were old enough to avoid adventure....

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wake, Awake

Today, just for grins, we changed church membership. It is the Last Sunday of the Church year, and we're starting something new. But not entirely new. John and I (he in 1981, me in 1959) were both baptized on this Sunday, also called Christ the King Sunday in the synod that baptized us (which doesn't exist anymore.)

So it's no wonder that I like this hymn!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday Farm Report

Yep...I'm back! At least for today.

Today was a busy, tiring day in which we accomplished many things. Our grandchildren are here, visiting their dad. We visited a bit this morning, and then Mary and I headed out to the feed store and a driving lesson. She's been through drivers' ed, and was planning to get her license this week. Last week, however, she told me that she doesn't feel as confident as she'd like, so we're doing a little more practice. She worries too much; she does fine! Even in her little Ranger, which is a stick, she handles herself well. She's a decent driver, and, with a little time, will be a very good one.

After breaking the bank buying horse bedding, steaks for tonight and lunchmeat, we came home to serve that lunchmeat and start our afternoon fun. Over the years, we've collected a nice collection of firewood. It was, however, scattered in various places around the farm, and I wanted it brought together. The boys, who were all home today, helped their dad with that, while I cleaned stalls, stirred compost and fed critters. After work, we all trouped inside for hot chocolate, nachos and salsa, and NAPS. I think the neat woodpile looks lovely, but the loveliest part of the day? That nap!!

Supper was steak, baked potatoes and veggies. After cleanup and jammies, we are now parked in front of Star Wars: Episode V. That's The Empire Strikes Back. It never gets old!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

At the Risk of Being Accused of Irreverence...

Yesterday, of course, was Reformation Day. I know, I know, many of you thought it was Halloween. You were only partly correct.

As I was getting in the car to go to church yesterday evening, I remembered that I had been in those very same jeans when I cleaned stalls earlier in the day. I wondered if it was appropriate to wear the jeans used for barn cleaning to partake of the Lord's Supper?

Then I thought, "Well, yeah. Jesus was born in a barn, after all. It'll be OK."

And then I remembered the comment my dad made whenever we came into the house and left the door open. "Were ya born in a barn?" (He still says it.)

And then, it came to me. The possibly-irreverent thought.

Did Joseph ever say to Jesus, "Hey, kiddo, were ya born in a barn?"

And--here it comes--did Jesus ever reply, "Well, yeah, Dad. Doncha remember?"